As you know, applicants and the parents of dependent students often provide estimated income information on their initial FAFSA in order to meet early school and/or state deadlines. Similarly, applicants and parents who have filed their federal tax return may submit their application before the IRS DRT is available for use in FAFSA on the Web, or choose not to use the IRS DRT at all.
As part of the ongoing effort to expand usage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) by applicants and parents, USDE has initiated an e-mail notification process to encourage those who provided estimated federal tax information or who chose not to use the IRS DRT to go back to FAFSA on the Web and submit corrections to their FAFSA to get a more accurate ISIR transaction to determine a student’s eligibility for aid.
2014-2015 notifications will be sent when the most recent CPS transaction indicates a “Will File” tax return status for the student and/or parent. Notifications will also be sent to applicants and parents who indicate they have “Already Completed” their tax return, but did not transfer their tax return information into the FAFSA using the IRS DRT.
Students and parents will be divided into two groups; the “estimator group” and the “filer group”.
Distribution of initial e-mail notifications for the “estimator” group began in early April 2014. Just prior to May 8, 2014, the CPS database will be queried a second time to identify records where the last transaction meets the same “estimator” conditions as those for the first notification. Records that still meet these conditions will be selected for follow-up notifications.
Distribution of e-mail notifications for the “filer” group will begin in late May. Subsequent messages for filers will be sent every 45 days until mid-September 2014, and then every 60 days until the end of the cycle, to students and parents who meet the criteria for notification and have not previously been sent a notification.
Both the “estimator” and “filer” versions of the e-mail notifications encourage the student or parent to return to FAFSA on the Web, determine if he or she is eligible to use the IRS DRT, and then use the Tool (if eligible) to transfer the tax return information filed with the IRS into the FAFSA to create a new CPS transaction. The notifications also discourage the student or parent from revising data that was accurate at the time the FAFSA was filed, such as household size or number in college.
The “estimator” e-mail notifications instruct the student or parent to update the tax filing status questions from a “Will File” status to an “Already Completed” status, even if all other income information on the FAFSA is correct.
To review the full text of the e-mail notifications that will be sent to students and parents, refer to the attachment to the electronic announcement dates 4/15/14.